Despite Late Dip, Alaska Salmon Harvest Remains A Big Increase From 2021

Even as Bristol Bay’s record sockeye harvest slowed down toward the end of July, it’s still been a good overall year for salmon harvesting in the state. Here’s more from the Alaska Journal of Commerce:

As of the end of July, the statewide salmon harvest is 24% higher than it was in 2021, according to a season update produced for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute by McKinley Research Group. That’s almost entirely due to the boom of sockeye salmon harvested in Bristol Bay, which broke its all-time harvest record this year with a total harvest of about 59 million sockeye. However, Bristol Bay has tapered off, with most salmon fisheries around the state beginning to transition to pink salmon harvest in mid-August.

“This year’s harvest had been following the trajectory of the five-year-average before falling below the baseline (in late July),” the update from McKinley Research states. “Pink harvests remain strong compared to recent averages in Prince William Sound (in particular the seine fishery), but all the state’s other main pink salmon fishing areas are behind 2020 levels.”

More than half the pink salmon statewide so far have been harvested in Prince William Sound. As of Sunday, fishermen there — mostly in the seine fleet — had harvested about 24.9 million pink salmon, with the Westward region coming in second at about 8.5 million pinks harvested. Southeast fishermen have harvested about 6.6 million so far, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The pink harvest is below-average for both regions by this time; Southeastern managers projected a weak run of pinks for 2022, and the harvest of about 2.5 million pinks in the South Alaska Peninsula area is less than half of its recent 5-year average.